Earlier this week, CECA hosted a meeting for members on Artificial Intelligence and its place in our industry’s future.
AI, is an emerging technology which could transform the way our industry operates. With the right AI in place, it can help businesses save time and money by minimising the human resource on routine processes and tasks.
It can also improve operational efficiencies and drive productivity by generating faster business decisions and reducing human error. Perhaps, most importantly, it supports the growth of expertise via the facilitation of analysis and the development of intelligent advice.
To this end, we have established a short-life working group to consider: What construction activities – both on and offsite – could be automated? Who is already operating in this space? Is there scope for collaboration? And of course, what are the risks of automation?
We believe that all activities within our industry have the potential for automation and we want to identify where the focus should be.
Yet we are cognisant of the pitfalls and limitations of this emerging technology. These include: ascertaining the reliability of the information generated, user dependency and commercial and data security concerns.
We must also remain vigilant as to how AI is governed and managed within our industry, and its potential impact upon safety, insurance and regulatory compliance.
Finally with energy security and reducing emissions at the forefront of all our minds, we need to consider the increasing demand for access to computing power, which is already being tested by the global demand for data centres.
We cannot understand the benefits of this new technology alone. Therefore, throughout the lifecycle of our project we want to engage with industry’s key suppliers and stakeholders to ensure our thinking is in alignment with others’.
Over the course of this year, we will be inviting contractors, designers, clients, software/IT service providers, plant companies, startups and bodies such as Innovate UK, Digital Catapult and the Alan Turing Institute to share their views and discuss the challenges and opportunities of automation for our industry.
This exciting project will cumulate in a policy document alongside a conference to discuss and debate what we all need to do to embed AI responsibly within our businesses.
Our workstream is supported by the Construction Leadership Council – the joint industry and Government body – who will include our findings in their workstream on improved productivity.
We stand ready to share our learning, work with and learn from others on this exciting project. Only together can we generate the solutions and frameworks needed to deliver construction that is truly 21st Century ready.
If you would like to get involved or find out more, please contact CECA Director of Operations Marie-Claude Hemming.
We look forward to hearing from you.